03 January 2014
A350 XWB double stretch decision is linked with the smaller variant A350-800 future.
Air Lease Corp. Chairman and CEO Steve Udvar-Hazy believes any Airbus decision to further stretch the A350 will hinge on its ability to get rid of the current backlog of the A350-800, which has been shrinking. One major trigger is the recent decision by American Airlines to upgrade the original order of 18 A350-800 (done by US Airways) to bigger A350-900.
Airbus officially still plans to build the A350-800 variant, but has been quietly trying to convince customers to move to the -900 and -1000. Chief Operating Officer-Customers John Leahy on October/2013 indicated for the first time that Airbus is studying the possibility of stretching the A350 further beyond the -1000 to counter the 777-9X.
Udvar-Hazy does not expect any quick decision on the matter and questions whether it would be absolutely necessary for Airbus to proceed with another stretch. “They have an acquisition price advantage,” he said, referring to the A350-1000 compared to the 777X. And while the -1000 may not have the same range, it would still be able to perform 90% of the flights possible with competing aircraft, Udvar-Hazy argued.
Based on the article “Udvar-Hazy Says Boeing Must Compromise On 777X Performance Requirements” published in Aviation Week